Homeschooling In The Philippines #1

Today’s guest blogger is Mandy. She has been one of my very first blogger friends. I am so glad to have met her online. She has inspired me in quite a number of ways. I have asked her to write about her new adventure, homeschooling.

Hi everyone! I’m Mandy from c’est La vie. I’m married to Allan and we have two kids, Kalila who is 10, and Khaled who is 16 months old. Chris asked me write about my homeschooling experience.
Truth be told, I have been urged to homeschool for so many years already by my mom’s friend whose grandchildren are also homeschooled. I had a lot of excuses (no time, I was in school, etc.) not to homeschool. It wasn’t until my husband and I attended a parenting seminar in church and the speaker talked about his children being homeschooled and quashed my misconceptions. We prayed about it for one year and even attended another homeschooling conference. Come enrollment time early this year, we decided (and somewhat consulted our “student” about this decision) to enroll her with a school that supervises/handles homeschooling (also affiliated with our church).

So really, I’ve only been homeschooling my daughter for only two months. But allow me to share my thoughts and experiences in homeschooling. First off, why should we homeschool? These are some of the reasons why we homeschool.

  • We want to incorporate parenting with education. What do I mean by this? We want to teach our kids not just academics but to integrate what they have learned in schooling with their everyday lives; as well as instill biblical/Christ-centered values into our lessons.

  • We want to the our child’s primary and only educators. Oftentimes, teachers in school teach our children values and ideas that are not the same as the values taught at home.

  • We want to be in control of our time. We can go on a vacation without having to worry about being absent. We can plan our own field trips. Go anywhere we like.

  • Avoid school-related stress, peer-pressure: sometimes, I’d hear my daughter say to me, “Mom, my friend says she has Spanish blood, what about me?” with her sounding as though her friend is more beautiful and she is not. I told her we have Filipino blood and that even if she doesn’t have any foreign blood running in her veins, she is still very beautiful. I found this heart breaking. I know that eventually she will have to deal with things like these in the future, but as she is still young. I’d like to protect her from preconceived ideas about beauty, race, weight, height issues.

There are also the wrong reasons to homeschool. With “wrong”, I mean that these are not reasons why we homeschool:

  • To save on tuition fee costs. Homeschooling can be cheap, yes, but on the other hand, it can become expensive, too. We homeschool because we want to, not to save on school expenses.
    Although to date, we have spent less compared to Kalila’s old school. Tuition is 50% less, but her books/teaching materials cost 300-500% more, no school bus fees. Stuff that can add up though are trips (family vacations are educational, right?), other school equipment/materials that some moms over-eagerly order online, enrollment of outside MAPE classes etc.

  • To finish a school year in half the time and accelerate your child to a higher level. It is not encouraged to do things so fast so that the child can fully grasp concepts well and learn to do things at a steady pace (not everything should be rushed).

So far, I can say that we are starting off slowly but surely. We both have a lot to learn in homeschooling. Kalila misses having lunch with her friends from school; while I struggle how to discuss the topics and make it longer and not repetitive and how to be more organized. My temper does flare up at times, but not in the way I expected it nor as often as I expected it would be. Everyday is a new learning experience for the both of us.
Homeschooling is not easy, it demands for my time. Not only do I have to teach, I also have to grade papers, requirements, and read up on lessons. I can’t get up in the morning and say, “oh, I don’t feel like teaching today” or in the middle of the school year, “I quit”; I have my student/daughter to think about, her educational needs, and her future. I am both parent and teacher–both roles you do 24/7. Teaching and parenting is a ceaseless function we do.

So how do we go about homeschooling? First off, a lot of information about homeschooling can be obtained from the internet. One can also sign up with egroups and get information directly from the homeschooling parents themselves. There are books on homeschooling (although, personally, I’ve not read one yet)–different kinds, teaching methods and such. Nowadays, it is quite easy to homeschool and get information about homeschooling.

I am still far from other homeschooling parents. My daughter and I, we have a lot to learn and I pray for the Lord’s guidance everyday, knowing that it is not me who will teach my daughter, but God using me as an instrument.

Motherhood from Another Perspective #2

I am excited because our guest blogger today is Nan. Nan has been a “mentor” to me through her posts and we have exchanged some emails too. I am glad to meet her online and hope you enjoy her post as much as I do!

Hello! I am Nan from Mom’s The Word and I am thrilled to be a guest blogger for Chris today. My husband and I have two boys aged 16 and 20. I homeschool the youngest and homeschooled the oldest until he graduated. He is now in college.

My kids were ages one and five just yesterday. I know it. Somehow they just grew up overnight. I don’t know, maybe I was in the bathroom shaving my legs or something and I missed it.

I blog about all sorts of stuff. My Savior, my family, my friends, organization, frugality, homemaking, homeschooling, chocolate, hairy legs and acrylic nails…..but through it all I hope you will find laughter, enouragement, and fun!

Being a mom seems to be filled with contradictions.

You can’t wait to wear maternity clothes……then you can’t wait to get out of them.

You can’t wait to get your figure back……then you can’t wait to have another child and lose it again.

You can’t wait until your child goes down for a nap….then you can’t wait until they wake up.

You can’t wait until they are able to hold the bottle…….then you miss holding it for them.

You can’t wait until they can crawl…..then you miss it when they couldn’t go anywhere.

You can’t wait until they can walk……then you wish they’d stay in one place.

You can’t wait until they can talk……then you wish they’d be quiet sometimes.

You can’t wait until they go to school……then you can’t wait until they come home.

No matter how much you try to cherish the moment, there are just so many precious moments and they go by so fast. One moment you are nursing a baby, then practically overnight this child is walking, talking, and gaining independence faster than you want them to. “Mommy let me do it” is something you will hear over and over.

To be a mom is to forever have your heart go wherever they go. Whenever they walk out the door, your heart will go with them. They will be in your thoughts, your prayers, your hopes and your dreams.

They will be the stuff that guilt is made of. Guilt because you raised your voice at them, guilt because you’re leaving the house without them, guilt because you wish they’d go to sleep so you could get some rest, guilt because you served a frozen dinner instead of making it yourself, guilt because you wonder if you’re doing everything “right,” guilt because you’re feeling guilty. A tired mommy is a guilt trip waiting to happen.

We love our children so much that we want to be the “perfect” mother, and when we fail, we feel bad. We feel that they deserve better. We get trapped in a downward spiral of guilt, frustration, tears, defeat, and lack of sleep.

When you have days like that, just remember that you don’t have to be perfect. Stop saying bad things about yourself. Honestly, would you talk to someone else the way that you talk to yourself sometimes? Would you be as hard on someone else as you’re being on yourself?

Don’t live out of your emotions. Live out of your faith. Faith that God has given you the wonderful gift of being a mother, and you can turn to Him when you are having a difficult time. Remember that none of us is perfect, and we all have our moments. Remember that you love those kids, and they know it, and let go of the mommy guilt so that you can move forward.

Remember that you are their mom, and you love them, and accept that there will be those times where you feel you have failed at something. There will be times when you need to say “I’m sorry, will you please forgive me” to your child, and this is a lesson that your children need to learn. They need to see you fail sometimes, so that they can learn the joy of giving forgiveness and being forgiven. So that they can learn humility. So that they can accept that they, too, aren’t perfect, and that there is only One Who is.


Home Away From Home # 1

My guest blogger today is not a stranger to some of you. Ai of POLISH-ED A! will post about what its like to raise a family away from your home country. Ai is a Filipina now living in Poland. Married to a Polish & blessed with two adorable kids namely Izabela Wiktoria (2 years old) and Jan Karol ( 18 weeks old).

Three years ago, I left the Philippines with a little sadness within me because I will be leaving behind my family, close friends, career and things I invested half of my life. it is hard to give up the things you usually you do. But other part of me, is full of joy and hope since I will be living a new life with the one man i truly would like to spend my lifetime with.

Embarking into a new journey in life which is married life is definitely a no joke especially that I will be leaving far from home. To a new place which isn’t so familiar to me. To a place where everything, you still need to learn and familiarize (e.g. culture, traditions, lifestyle, language). Now, here I am living a simple Polish life.

Living far from my home country (Philippines) is exactly different. I would say difficult, complicated and needed full adjustments. Although, I never had any problem adjusting with the Polish culture and traditions. I like it so far. What is giving me a hard time is the language which is Polish. It’s one of the complicated and difficult languages in the world. Before I came here, hubby gave me a Polish language book for me to learn the language a little, but I wasn’t so interested then. I was so confident that everything would be alright when I get here. And so, the first weeks, months and years living here is a complicated thing to adjust. I could not go around on my own without tagging hubby along because I could not understand the language much more they could not understand me. Here, english is a foreign language. so is with me, their language is such strange. They are so exclusive with their language. I went to a polish language school too for me to even just learn the basics. But, until now I am stil struggling. I am taking my time. I know someday I’ll be perfect with my Polish.

The same year, I got pregnant with our first baby who is now, Izabela. Although, I never take it as another struggle to adjust with because we really would want to have a baby right away. For us, what married is for without a baby. I really thought then that being pregnant and a mom is easy. But it’s the other way around. You need to be emotionally, physically and spiritually prepared. Emotionally, because the changing of your hormones affects your moods and feelings day by day. Physically, to accept that your body will not be the same again after giving birth. Spiritually, you needed much guidance and faith to endure every single things that motherhood brings. You konw that feeling of excitement right? knowing you were given a wonderful gift that you can’t wait to see. That’s what we felt then. We were so thankful & blessed. All the while, the excitement and enthusiasm in me subsides and replaced with anxiety and sometimes regrets when baby came. That the motherhood i thought of, that is wonderful, is not always that wonderful. I got really tired, so stress because of no enough sleep and adusting to motherly life. I have to learn everything on my own from changing diapers to breastfeeding. Merely, it only takes me a couple of tries before i became an expert of those. It’s really true that i just have to believe in myself and motherly instinct will just kick in. Now that I have the second baby, it was no longer hard for me. It was not a problem to deal with since I know what to expect and to do next. I will not say I am an expert mom now. If there’s one thing I am expert of doing at this time, that is changing nappies as quickly as possible, breastfeeding, burping and bathing. As for me, every day to day is a learning experience. NO PAIN, NO GAIN anyway, right?

Everyday dealings of my two kids is really challenging especially that we are trying to raise them both in a Filipino & Polish way. Of course, there’s a difference of both cultures and with how they brought up children here. Child rearing is really not an easy task. There is only one thing that we hold on so dear. Our faith and our love towards our children. We sees to it that everything we do and say, is seen by our children. So we are always careful. Doing things as an example. We are also teaching them to be bilingual. To be able to speak both the Polish and english language.So far, we are successful with Izabela. She can converse now both languages. How? By simply, talking and read her in english while hubby talks and read her in Polish. Me and hubby talks in English and slowly I am going to teach her to learn my own language which is Tagalog. It is true, there is no school that could teach you to be a perfect parent, a wonderful mom. It takes your simple way coupled with true devotion in your heart and mind to be responsible, and there’s no doubt we could raise a wonderful individual.

Knowing and learning the job of a mom is not as simple as ABC’s. It’s a lifetime responsibility that we need to embrace everyday. It needs an open heart and mind to expect every possible worst thing that would happen. The job of a mom doesn’t end in a day like working in an office. There is no coffee, lunch break and vacation leave too. It is a lifetime responsibility that needed full determination. But then, there’s always rewards in the end.

Let me tell you, the greatest job in these world is being a mother and the greatest difficulty is managing the household. Infact, I am proud to say that motherhood completes me as a woman. Seeing my children growing happy, healthy and telling me those 3 magic words ‘ I LOVE YOU!’ is such a wonderful thing to see and hear. Those are things that money can’t buy.

There’s a lot of things I know I’ve missed doing like watching movies, taking my time in the shower and going out without tagging a baby with me. However, there’s no amount of joy seeing my kids with me all the time. I am more comfortable and at ease. Though you can’t help it. there are really times your wishing to be just on your own. That my family is just nearby me so I could ask for help. For me now, It just takes to know your priorities to be able to do things on your own too. That is why, I’m too particular with my time. We are always on the dot when it comes to my kids daily routine. Setting a daily routine for children is I think one way of teaching them to be deligent. My night time routine for them is this; 6pm dinner time; After, bathing time, after bathing read them stories and send them to sleep. So when they are early on the bed and knows already their routines they will follow it. The rest of the time is yours and I call it my ‘ME’ and ‘US’ time with hubby. Hubby sees to it too that he always goes to work early so he could still catch up more time with the children too.

Living away from home may not always be easy for me. However, if I will have just that will and open mind to embrace every new things and take it as a learning experience. There’s no doubt I’ll learn the trick of the trade the easiest way. I maybe living in a different culture and speaks a different language, as long as I have faith and trust in myself there is no reason I can endure my every day dealings with my children, embrace life living far from home and in living a Polish life. As what Jhumpa Lalin wrote in Interpreter of Maladies “The experiences of marriage and motherhood have changed me profoundly, have grounded me in a way I’ve never been before. Motherhood, in particular, makes me look at life in an entirely different way. There’s nothing to prepare you for it, nothing to compare it too.”

I hope I impart something to you in my own little way today.

Motherhood from Another Perspective #1

I am happy to have Molly from The Bumbles Blog as a guest blogger today. Molly lives with her husband Andy outside of Boston, Massachusetts. They created The Bumbles Blog in October, 2008 to share their virtual home in the blogosphere where any and all are welcome to stop by for some comic relief, book discussions, movie games, travel stories, musical thoughts, and glimpses of what they see through the lens of their camera. When they aren’t blogging, they are working hard in the real world or creating memories with family and friends – or watching baseball. I am so happy that she has agreed to be my first guest blogger! 🙂 I asked her if she would like to post about motherhood from her perspective and her is what she has to say…

I am not a mom. Someday I could be. What the future holds no one knows. But I do know that motherhood is the most demanding, ungrateful, selfless job women can take on. I know this because I watch you. I help you. I empathize with you.

A great friend of mine just recently became a mom for the first time a few weeks before turning 40. She had not expected her first shot at motherhood to come with twin boys. Like all rookie moms she felt woefully unprepared for her new job. She went through borderline postpartum. She argued with family members more interested in being critical than helpful. She was amazed by the functioning ability she had on so little sleep. She struggled with learning that screaming babies were a part of her life. She never knew that laundry, diapers and bottle washing could be endless. She envied her husband’s ability to leave the house for work. She wondered why she couldn’t figure it all out by herself. In essence, she questioned what she had gotten herself into.

She has settled in to her new job as the months have gone by. She belongs to a great forum for parents of multiples and has found ways to work with family. She is embracing the stay at home role which was not the original plan. She is more comfortable handling her two babies by herself out and about in the world.

But there are times when she desperately wants to join friends on evenings out to concerts, take a vacation with her husband, or spend weekends out of the house gardening instead of going to Walmart for diapers. She belongs to her family before herself from here on out but she knows that the tradeoff for this loss of individual time is the absolute love and wonder for her soul those two little boys that she created will provide.

We’ve gone out for a pedicure, grabbed a few hours out at trivia night and driven around on baby related errands. I was pleased to be able to watch her boys so she and her husband could have a fun night out with friends. I ask her how she is doing and try to refer her to helpful moms without telling her what I think she should do. I do this because I appreciate her as a friend and as a mom. I try to learn from her so that some day I can draw from her experience. And if I don’t happen to ever become a mom myself I’ll have at least learned vicariously some of what the job entails. I may not ever feel the love in my soul that only a mom experiences from her child, but then again I wouldn’t have to face endless days of changing diapers.

Guest Bloggers on Wednesday

For the several months that I have been blogging, I have met several friends online. I have read their blogs and really admire them for their work! That is why for the month of July, I will be having guest bloggers on Wednesdays to spice up The Mommy Journey 🙂 The posts of our guest bloggers will center around motherhood and different issues we all face.

The following are the themes to watch out for!
Motherhood from Another Perspective by Molly
Homeschooling in the Philippines by Mandy

Hope to see you here on Wednesday!

Note: If you want to be a guest blogger, please leave me a message. Slots are still open 🙂